A few years ago after getting back from Ecuador, I entered into a church in Boston to a Mass and afterwards met a few young Ecuadorians in the church. Wow, I thought to myself, that’s weird. Later on in the year, I returned to Ecuador, and I decided I would visit the family of my Ecuadorian friends. After I spent a day in their indigenous community, I thought, wow, that was really special, being right in the middle of a family split by immigration.
When I got back, my friend invited a few other people from the same community who were living in Massachusetts to come to a presentation I was giving. I met them, too, and they invited me to come to their gatherings. I said, wow, I had no idea there were so many people here from the same remote community in Ecuador. I joined into the novena in the parish and it sort of came back to life, and we all said, wow. They have me an Ecuadorian soccer shirt, and I was surprised. Wow.
Then, at another event event, we started talking about what they could for their community back in Ecuador. In one evening, a group of folks decided that they would put together the extra money they had raised in their gatherings and send it back home to the community in Ecuador, so gifts could be bought for the children and the seniors. That night, I thought, wow.
When I came to Ecuador this time, I worked out that I could make it by the community from the 4-8 of January, over the feast of the visit of the Wisemen. After a few organizers had put all the gifts together, we spent three days giving them out, and having getherings of singing and praying and sharing. At the end of the last night, a large group of us shared in a meal as a goodbye.
They also vested me in one of their own ponchos, a gift for me. I said it then, it’s the best gift I’ve ever gotten, and I am still saying, WOW! It’s like in some way I’m now part of the community. And now I go back to the States a little bit different.
Picture wisemen who are into how life goes, who notice a special star in the sky that seems to match a prophesy they know about. Wow, they say, and they set out to follow. Then morning comes and they wait for another evening and as the sun goes down, sure enough, there it is again. Wow, they say again, and keep following. This keeps happening until they get pulled aside by Herod for some questioning and they wonder whether they’re ever going to see the star again. Then, sure enough, there it is, and they say, Wow. Finally it takes them to small poor place and they’re thinking, this is it, and … Wow. They go in and encounter Jesus, and of course there’s another big Wow. And so come out all the gifts. And what does Mary say? WOW. And she has a gift for the wisemen ….
You know why the wisemen went home a different way and didn’t go back to Herod? Because they got a gift from the family they met. The wisemen wore *their* garment now. They are now part of the family.
I believe that God calls us through our Wows. When you follow the wows in your life and don’t let anything get in the way, when you don’t let the news, or the politics, or the negativity at work or the neighborhood or wherever you find it get in the way, then you get to reach God’s treasure.
There’s a gift waiting for you there.
“They departed to their own country by another way.” (Mt 2:12)